This newspaper yesterday, using undercover journalists, exposed an illegality brewing under the heavy blanket of impunity, or at most, negligence by government authorities, at Iganga District-based Busoga University.
This newspaper’s investigators were able to – without breaking a vial of sweat - buy admission letters over the counter at the institution, whose operational licence was revoked by government in December last year.
For context, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the body mandated to monitor the country’s institutions of higher learning, had last year directed that the university be shut down for failure to recruit qualified staff, teaching unaccredited courses and graduating students who do not meet the minimum required academic standards.
According to the notice from NHCE signed by the executive its director, Prof John Asibo Opuda, “. . . Busoga University ceased to operate and is not allowed to advertise and admit new students.”
Pursuant to that, this newspaper early this year found out that the university notwithstanding – and with a blessing from Justice Salome Bossa’s Constitutional Court order on January 31 - had gone ahead to admit students in the January 2018 in-take.
Other media had also indicated that the institution was issuing degrees at a fee even when the recipients had not stepped in class for the required time.
Yet those are not the only issues. At the time we visited the campus in Iganga Town, students went on with their examinations without panic. In addition, the university’s spokesperson, Mr Andrew Balondemu, confidently said it was business as usual at the institution.
Interestingly, all this has happened while the Dr Chrysostom Muyingo-led committee, appointed by President Museveni, to look into the takeover of the university by government, is reportedly not aware.
Which begs the questions: How does government ensure that certain pronouncements are followed to the letter? Hasn’t the Muyingo committee tried to establish the status of the campus as yet? How does NCHE monitor the institutions under its ambit? And why has Busoga University consistently defied orders to close and nothing happens to the authorities in charge?
This is how impunity breeds, and it is no wonder that even primary and secondary schools operating illegally across the country continue to conduct business under the nose of the authorities. Officials, thus, continue to sidestep the law because they think government pronouncements are just a passing cloud. We just don’t care, anyway!